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The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

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The Story of the Greatest Sports Moment of the Twentieth Century Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered what Sports Illustrated called the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the The Story of the Greatest Sports Moment of the Twentieth Century Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered what Sports Illustrated called the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the real Cinderella story is even more remarkable. Wayne Coffey casts a fresh eye on this seminal sports event, giving readers an ice-level view of the amateurs who took on a Russian hockey juggernaut at the height of the Cold War. He details the unusual chemistry of the Americans—formulated by their fiercely determined coach, Herb Brooks—and seamlessly weaves portraits of the boys with the fluid action of the game itself. Coffey also traces the paths of the players and coaches since their stunning victory, examining how the Olympic events affected their lives. Told with warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, The Boys of Winter is an intimate, perceptive portrayal of one Friday night in Lake Placid and the enduring power of the extraordinary. Also available as an eBook


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The Story of the Greatest Sports Moment of the Twentieth Century Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered what Sports Illustrated called the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the The Story of the Greatest Sports Moment of the Twentieth Century Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered what Sports Illustrated called the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the real Cinderella story is even more remarkable. Wayne Coffey casts a fresh eye on this seminal sports event, giving readers an ice-level view of the amateurs who took on a Russian hockey juggernaut at the height of the Cold War. He details the unusual chemistry of the Americans—formulated by their fiercely determined coach, Herb Brooks—and seamlessly weaves portraits of the boys with the fluid action of the game itself. Coffey also traces the paths of the players and coaches since their stunning victory, examining how the Olympic events affected their lives. Told with warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, The Boys of Winter is an intimate, perceptive portrayal of one Friday night in Lake Placid and the enduring power of the extraordinary. Also available as an eBook

30 review for The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!!” Growing up watching any sporting event, Al Michaels’ call of the United States-Soviet Union hockey game from the 1980 Olympics takes its place front and center as one of the greatest underdog sports stories of the 20th century. I have no recollection of February 22, 1980 because the events of the Lake Placid Olympics took place when I was a mere four months old. Yet, being the sports fan that I am, it is impossible not to know about the original miracle on ic “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!!” Growing up watching any sporting event, Al Michaels’ call of the United States-Soviet Union hockey game from the 1980 Olympics takes its place front and center as one of the greatest underdog sports stories of the 20th century. I have no recollection of February 22, 1980 because the events of the Lake Placid Olympics took place when I was a mere four months old. Yet, being the sports fan that I am, it is impossible not to know about the original miracle on ice. Hockey is by far not my favorite team sport. As a kid, the Chicago Blackhawks were blacked out in local markets by the team’s ownership, so basketball easily became my winter sport of choice. Between watching the Bulls during their glory years and Michigan’s fab five team, hockey was an afterthought. My knowledge of the miracle on ice has been limited to the sound bite on sports broadcasts, and I had long thought to rectify that. With my baseball team eliminated from the post season this year, I decided to expand my hockey knowledge base. Today, the Olympics is a star studded festival featuring the best athletes in the world. The original purpose of the modern Olympiad was to bring together athletes from around the world in a display of peace regardless of the world’s political climate, with winning and losing being secondary to the international unity shown at the events. Starting with the Berlin Olympics and the showdowns between American and German athletes, the goals of the Olympics began to change. Yes, new friendships could still be made in the Olympic village, but sports bringing glory to nations still ravaged by war took precedence to peaceful demonstrations of sports. Following World War II, eastern bloc nations culled the best athletes from the time they were children and had these athletes train in their given sport year round. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the Soviet Union, and athletes were amateurs in name only. The gulf between Olympic athletes from communist countries and their western counterparts widened with each passing Olympiad. The year 1980 marked a low point in the United States. The country was still in the throes of the Iran hostage crisis, and the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. The Cold War threat remained a real danger in the eyes of the American public. Yet, the games would go on, and the 1980 Winter Olympics were set to be played in the quaint village of Lake Placid, New York. The Soviet Union with their professional amateurs had won every Olympic hockey tournament since 1960 and sought another victory on their political rival’s soil. The United States tabbed Herb Brooks to coach a team comprised of wide eyed twenty somethings, mainly college students, all amateurs. The days of dream teams and commercialization were still in the future. Brooks formulated his team of players from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New England. His team were not necessarily the best players in the United States, but they could skate fast, were gritty, and were built to withstand whatever the Soviets plotted for their head to head match up. Wayne Coffey divides this book into three periods with two intermissions. The story jumps back and forth between the game and background stories of each of the twenty players on the team and their coaches. Mike Eruzione, the captain who shot the game winning goal, was nearly cut during training camp. Coach Brooks tabbed Eruzione as captain because he was the team’s elder statesman at age twenty five and displayed the grit of an Italian immigrant’s kid from Boston’s projects. Twenty five years after the game, the miracle on ice is still Eruzione’s shining moment. The other players all have their own compelling stories, parents who declined overtime at work to watch their sons play hockey, winter outdoor hockey at -50 degrees in Minnesota’s iron range, and mothers who shuttled their eight kids around to compete in youth hockey and other sporting tournaments. Each story was more compelling than the next, and nearly forty years later, it is obvious why Americans rooted for a team of kids who were given almost no chance to win. Coffey claims that the miracle on ice is the 20th century’s biggest sports story. Seven of the players went on to have careers in professional hockey, yet, for many of the team’s players, the Miracle on Ice game was their crowning hockey achievement. They opened the door for Americans to be viewed as hockey stars, and today there are a number of United States born stars in the National Hockey League. At the time, the Olympics were a simpler affair. Players played for pride without the glitz and glory surrounding dream teams and professionals competing in most of the events. Even if the miracle of February 22, 1980 is not the single biggest sports story of the 20th century, Wayne Coffey’s take on the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team makes for one compelling story. 3.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    The Boys of Winter, Tantor Audiobook By Wayne Coffee Narrated by Kirby Heyborne 5 Stars This is a true story, taking the reader back in time to the 1980, Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, where Eric Heiden won 5 gold medals in speed skating and the United Staes beat the USSR hockey team, the greatest team on the planet, seting the stage for the US to win the Gold Medal in hockey. Fewer people recall Heiden’s feat, eventhough the accomplishment was by degrees greater than the hockey scores. However The Boys of Winter, Tantor Audiobook By Wayne Coffee Narrated by Kirby Heyborne 5 Stars This is a true story, taking the reader back in time to the 1980, Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, where Eric Heiden won 5 gold medals in speed skating and the United Staes beat the USSR hockey team, the greatest team on the planet, seting the stage for the US to win the Gold Medal in hockey. Fewer people recall Heiden’s feat, eventhough the accomplishment was by degrees greater than the hockey scores. However most people do recall “the Miracle on Ice” if you were around then, or if you are a hockey fan. I was a 30 something young man at the time and remember how I thought as I sat down to watch the game, wouldn’t it be great if the US beat the “Rooskies”? (I didn’t know al the time, the TV presentation was delayed due to skiing events!) This book reads like a fast paced mystery novel, where the author tells of heart racing accounts of play by play and sometimes second by second action. Wayne Coffee intersperces the hockey action with bios of the coach Herb Brooks, how the team was selected and how Brooks’ far fetched strategy came to fruition on a Friday night in February, 1980. Coffee also includes an intimate background of each of the players both before and after the Olympics. He reminds the reader of how the 1980 Olympic games differ from those of today. All Olympic athletes at the time had to maintain amateur status - no professional players were allowed. But the world knew the Soviet athletes were essentially professional due to the fact that the sport was their job. They trained year round and all costs were covered by the Russian government. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip back in time, but the behind the scenes stories made it memorable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lance

    Any American sports fan will know where he or she was on February 22, 1980. It was on that date that 20 young men from the United States defeated the hockey team from the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics. It is considered by many, including this reviewer, as the greatest sports event that has occurred and will not be repeated. The stories behind this game and the players and Coach Herb Brooks are told in this book by Wayne Coffey. The book starts and ends with scenes from Brooks’ funeral afte Any American sports fan will know where he or she was on February 22, 1980. It was on that date that 20 young men from the United States defeated the hockey team from the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics. It is considered by many, including this reviewer, as the greatest sports event that has occurred and will not be repeated. The stories behind this game and the players and Coach Herb Brooks are told in this book by Wayne Coffey. The book starts and ends with scenes from Brooks’ funeral after he was killed in an auto accident in 2003. There are short biographies of Brooks and each of the 20 players scattered throughout the description of the action on the ice during that game. The format makes for great reading for the print version and while also excellent for the audio version, the listener will have to pay close attention so that when the narration changes from player story back to the game, there is no disconnect. The game replay is excellent with not only goals and saves described but each check, each penalty and each steal of the puck by either team relived in great detail. On occasion I will watch a video of the game and get chills, even after all these years. I had the same reaction when Heyborne was describing key events of the game, such as Mark Johnson’s goal with one second remaining in the first period, spectacular saves by goaltender Jim Craig and certainly the winning goal by Mike Eruzione. Any reader who either wants to relive that special game or wants to learn why this team and event is still revered more than 35 years later will want to pick up this book. Even though it was originally published in 2005, the stories and events are just as thrilling to relive now as they were then. http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/201...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A must-read for those wanting a detailed look at how the United States hockey team defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. Mr. Coffey mixes biographical details of Coach Herb Brooks, his staff and the 20 Olympians who became a part of sports history. Thirteen of the 20 would have NHL careers (defenseman Ken Morrow would immediately sign with the New York Islanders and win four straight Stanley Cups). Mr. Coffey's approach of doing a period-by-per A must-read for those wanting a detailed look at how the United States hockey team defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. Mr. Coffey mixes biographical details of Coach Herb Brooks, his staff and the 20 Olympians who became a part of sports history. Thirteen of the 20 would have NHL careers (defenseman Ken Morrow would immediately sign with the New York Islanders and win four straight Stanley Cups). Mr. Coffey's approach of doing a period-by-period narrative and "pausing" to introduce and describe each player's path to the team was well done. As a Washington Capitals fan, I especially liked the small injection on Dave Christian - a forward converted to defenseman for the team; a player whose father played in the 1960 gold-medal winning Team USA at Squaw Valley, CA; and one who spent a good portion of his career with Capitals in the mid-80s when I initially arrived in the DC area. I also liked the portion on Warren Strelow, Brooks' goaltender coach who went on to spend a huge career coaching and developing goaltenders for the Caps. One can go see "Miracle" the movie produced on the team, but this book gives you a better read on how Brooks selected the team, moulded the young athletes and took them through a vigorous and often rocky road to Lake Placid.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    One of my favorite books of all time. I love hockey and Miracle on ice. So this book was a must read. I could not put down this book. I liked learning about all the players and their lives. This team is a great one and I love it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    "You watched them play and you were struck by the power of a simple, single thought: Hey, we really can still do it. In a profoundly pessimistic time, they brought hope...And the best part was they didn't even know they were doing it. They thought they were just trying to win hockey games." The Boys of Winter is the story of the United States Men's Hockey team that beat the Soviets in the winter of 1980, a David and Goliath victory which became a historic national moment during the Cold War. Wayn "You watched them play and you were struck by the power of a simple, single thought: Hey, we really can still do it. In a profoundly pessimistic time, they brought hope...And the best part was they didn't even know they were doing it. They thought they were just trying to win hockey games." The Boys of Winter is the story of the United States Men's Hockey team that beat the Soviets in the winter of 1980, a David and Goliath victory which became a historic national moment during the Cold War. Wayne Coffey traces each moment of the game, interspersing the hockey plays with details about each of the players and how they came to join such a momentous game. The Boys of Winter has been on my to-read list for awhile, I think since I saw it on a booklist for the greatest sports books ever. I've become a big fan of hockey but I haven't read all that many sports stories. Because Coffey gives a lot of details on the players lives and backgrounds, the pace of the book moves from fast-paced to leisurely in waves, which may bother some readers. For me, it was fascinating to see how all these kids of various backgrounds came together against a Soviet team that had been training with each other for decades and was the better team in most ways. It's an intriguing story that doesn't hold back on the less glorious parts of the various personalities involved and doesn't sugarcoat the way that coach Herb Brooks managed to spur the team to victory. It's an intriguing, well-written story that had me looking up old footage of the game just so I could compare it to what I read in the book and still came away satisfied. It also had the perfect quote to explain why I'm fascinated by goalies in hockey: "Goalies are different from other human beings. By workplace location and mindset, they occupy their own distinct space. A goal cage is six feet wide and four feet high, twenty-four square feet to keep the puck from penetrating. You are quite literally the last line of defense, the ultimate determinant of who wins and who loses. You need a special sort of self-reliance to play the goal, and a willfulness that borders on defiance: You are not getting this puck past me." If you're looking for a compelling sports story, The Boys of Winter may be up your alley. Coffey weaves together details of the game and details of the players lives and personalities with skill, though inconsistent pacing and I found myself intrigued throughout.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    To paraphrase my friend Jeana the first (and only) time I made her watch miracle, “Herb Brooks is a dick.” Listen, I know his methods worked but that doesn’t mean I have to like or agree with him. I read this book because I saw Erica reading it first, and her thoughts on the book are very similar to my own: that the author does a great job on expanding on the players’ personalities and their lives after the game, as well as focusing in on the underdog story, but also spends too much time describi To paraphrase my friend Jeana the first (and only) time I made her watch miracle, “Herb Brooks is a dick.” Listen, I know his methods worked but that doesn’t mean I have to like or agree with him. I read this book because I saw Erica reading it first, and her thoughts on the book are very similar to my own: that the author does a great job on expanding on the players’ personalities and their lives after the game, as well as focusing in on the underdog story, but also spends too much time describing cabins in woods and the weird rivalries between Iron Range villages. It’s kind of boring. Then again, hockey players themselves can be kind of boring so an argument can be made that the author is staying true to his subject. Personally I would have liked to read more about the games leading up to The Big One but we cannot always get what we want. It was nice to read about hockey since sports have been cancelled.

  8. 5 out of 5

    stormin

    Everybody wants to write the next The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but this ain't it. As a side note: you should google your title before you run with it. When I tried to look up this title on Goodreads to write this review now, the first page was nothing but romance / erotica. I had to enter the author's last name, too, to get this actual book. :-) I've never really understood the "Miracle on Ice". One of the things I often hear, whe Everybody wants to write the next The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but this ain't it. As a side note: you should google your title before you run with it. When I tried to look up this title on Goodreads to write this review now, the first page was nothing but romance / erotica. I had to enter the author's last name, too, to get this actual book. :-) I've never really understood the "Miracle on Ice". One of the things I often hear, when people are talking about, is that you had to be there to understand, where "there" isn't necessarily Lake Placid, but is--at least--the Cold War. I'm willing to grant that, but that means that if you want to really get someone like me--born after this event took place--to understand you're going to need to give me some context. Like, geopolitical context. That's one of the things Boys in the Boat did so well: frame it within the story of World War 2 to give the story the necessary context. Anyway, what I learned in this book is that the American coach was a mean old tyrant and possibly had a screw lose, that the Russians outplayed the Americans and we just got lucky, and that Lake Placid really shouldn't have been hosting the Winter Games anyway because the town's too small. I'm not sure those are the lessons I'm supposed to have walked away--I'm pretty sure they are not--but that's what stuck. As for the rest of it: telling the story of the game spread out over the entire book with a bunch of flash-backs and tangents between the important plays didn't work for me. I had no idea who anybody was, because 50+ names (20 players, a few coaches, and then family members for most of them) is way too many to keep track of. Other than Herb Brooks, the only one I can remember is Jim Craig, and I finished this book yesterday. And I only remember Jim Craig 'cause he married a Mormon. Which--and this has nothing to do with the book, really--brought up the most unintentionally hilarious moment in the book, when Wayne Coffey explained what Mormons believe about family: Sharlene Craig is a Mormon. One of the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that babies are gifts from heaven, sent to earth to replace people who are dying. Before the babies come down, they get to know the person who is about to pass away. I read that and went all Episode 8 Luke Skywalker: Every word of what you just said... was wrong. I mean, how would that even work? The Earth's population is growing, so clearly babies can't be replacing people who are dying. Don't get me wrong, it's not really a bad belief to attribute to Mormons it's just... totally wrong. There was this really famous (within the Mormon community) musical from the 1980s called Saturday's Warrior that maybe kind of / sort of had this belief in it. I can't remember, I haven't seen it since I was like, 10 years old, and citing it to get Mormon belief is sort of like quoting Jesus Christ: Superstar as formal Catholic theology. Anyway, I'm sure it's an innocent mistake--and it was hilarious--but wow. That one was out there.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luke Koran

    After hearing about Miracle on Ice - the ULTIMATE achievement and upset in all of sports in the 20th century - my entire life, from numerous viewings of Disney’s “Miracle” and readings concerning iconic coach Herb Brooks to my upbringing on the East Side of Saint Paul, Minnesota, I wasn’t so sure that any book could tell me something new about the 1980 Olympics, let alone blow my mind. Well, be surprised when I tell you that author Wayne Coffey accomplished both of these things with the incredib After hearing about Miracle on Ice - the ULTIMATE achievement and upset in all of sports in the 20th century - my entire life, from numerous viewings of Disney’s “Miracle” and readings concerning iconic coach Herb Brooks to my upbringing on the East Side of Saint Paul, Minnesota, I wasn’t so sure that any book could tell me something new about the 1980 Olympics, let alone blow my mind. Well, be surprised when I tell you that author Wayne Coffey accomplished both of these things with the incredible literary masterpiece that is “The Boys of Winter”! From detailing the lives of each and every one of the twenty players that wore “USA” on the front of their jerseys in 1980 - as well as some commentary on the coaching and training staff - to a thorough re-telling of most of the Olympic games, especially the semi-final versus the Soviet Union, Coffey provides a fresh, in-depth look on an event that nearly every American knows at least a little about. Bookended by the sudden death of Herbie Brooks in 2003, this book succeeds in revisiting Miracle on Ice at the proper time and with the appropriate research and literary ingenuity. My only qualms with any telling of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team - from the New York Times editorials of February 1980 to the 2004 movie “Miracle” and 2005 book “Boys of Winter”, is the inadequate coverage of the 7-3 upset of #2 team in the world, Czechoslovakia. I firmly believe that this game has never been given its fair share of appreciation for the unfathomable victory it truly was. As famed defensemen Ken Morrow said it best, “It was the best game we played in the tournament." All in all, I couldn’t set this book down, as my thirst for more knowledge and surprises concerning my fellow East Sider Herb Brooks along with the greatest triumph in sports history really took control of my mind and feelings to thoroughly enjoy and finish this book as fast as possible. A GREAT story deserves a GREAT storyteller, and this book is proof that miracles do indeed happen.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Lemek

    Oh man I had such a hard time rating this book. I had been looking forward to reading it for the better part of a month and finally it was available on loan from the library. I loved reliving the game and I loved the background stories of the key players, but the story format is disappointing. The author continuously jumps from describing the game against the Soviets to stories leading up to the game and then stories after the game has ended back to describing the game again. The flow was hard t Oh man I had such a hard time rating this book. I had been looking forward to reading it for the better part of a month and finally it was available on loan from the library. I loved reliving the game and I loved the background stories of the key players, but the story format is disappointing. The author continuously jumps from describing the game against the Soviets to stories leading up to the game and then stories after the game has ended back to describing the game again. The flow was hard to follow and I wasn't able to get wrapped up into the story as I had hoped I would be. The content was great, the structure was awful so 3 stars from me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    A beautifully told look back at the most famous hockey game in history: "Two days after the loss to the United States, the Soviet Union scored nine times in the first thirty-five minutes and crushed the Swedes, 9–2. The Soviets would not lose another official international game for five years. ... But the future domination came with no rewind mechanism, no clause that could undo what happened on Friday night, February 22, 1980. It was the thirtieth anniversary of the film debut of Walt Disney’s A beautifully told look back at the most famous hockey game in history: "Two days after the loss to the United States, the Soviet Union scored nine times in the first thirty-five minutes and crushed the Swedes, 9–2. The Soviets would not lose another official international game for five years. ... But the future domination came with no rewind mechanism, no clause that could undo what happened on Friday night, February 22, 1980. It was the thirtieth anniversary of the film debut of Walt Disney’s Cinderella. Maybe it figured."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brian F

    Obviously every American sports fan loves the story of the 1980 US hockey team. But this is such an incredibly well crafted book. It was fundamentally about one hockey game but it weaved in backstory about each of the players and staff. That's what made it so compelling. The back and forth meant that it never got boring or tiresome. A very insightful read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Fier

    I enjoyed this book because it helped me understand more about the event. Obviously I knew the basics of the Miracle on Ice but this book really went into detail of every little thing that happened which helped me understand the event even more clearly. I liked how the quotes were real quotes by Coach Brooks and how each detail was explained very clearly. This is a great book for any sports fans and I would definitely recommend this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Sawyer

    Incredible story, incredible moment in not only sport history, but American history. However, the flow of the story took away from the game commentating. The back story of all of the players and coaches is worth the read, but could’ve been condensed for a better understanding.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I watched Miracle and got curious.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jim Swike

    We all know the result. This book tells us about the team and the personalities. A great read about a great team. Enjoy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is an amazing story, well told.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    I like the outline of this book. Tell the story of a single game, and use different moments within it to tell the stories of the players on the team. And I'm a sucker for anything Cold War-related, because it all seems so clear cut and understandable, while still providing a mysterious, impenetrable character. That character is the Soviets. You know all about them, yet you know nothing about what they are really like. The backstories of all the U.S. players are interesting to various degrees. Mo I like the outline of this book. Tell the story of a single game, and use different moments within it to tell the stories of the players on the team. And I'm a sucker for anything Cold War-related, because it all seems so clear cut and understandable, while still providing a mysterious, impenetrable character. That character is the Soviets. You know all about them, yet you know nothing about what they are really like. The backstories of all the U.S. players are interesting to various degrees. Most guys are from either Minnesota, Michigan, or Massachusetts. They all grew playing on ponds and rivers, and most went to the University of Minnesota or somewhere else freezing. But their personal stories vary greatly within these bounds. Some had great professional careers, more had decent ones, and some had almost none. If you like underdog, feel-good stories, tales of determination and hard work... or if you just like hockey, you'll enjoy this quick read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Bound by eligibility rules and definitions regarding “amateurs” and “professionals,” the United States was fielding eclectic teams of talented young college players, many of whom had never played together before. Rob McClanahan, one of the U.S. forwards in 1980 described the team succinctly: “We were just naïve college punks.” The team was recruited and coached by Herb Brooks, an enigmatic man who held his players at arms' length, often publicly berating, demeaning and humiliating them while mol Bound by eligibility rules and definitions regarding “amateurs” and “professionals,” the United States was fielding eclectic teams of talented young college players, many of whom had never played together before. Rob McClanahan, one of the U.S. forwards in 1980 described the team succinctly: “We were just naïve college punks.” The team was recruited and coached by Herb Brooks, an enigmatic man who held his players at arms' length, often publicly berating, demeaning and humiliating them while molding them into a better, more unified hockey team than anyone, even the players, thought possible. Mr. Coffey explains: “Brooks was a complicated man, one who teemed with contradictions.” Some players thrived in this environment and held no ill will toward Mr. Brooks. Others were deeply hurt and resentful, even when attending Mr. Brooks's funeral more than twenty years later. One commented almost wistfully, “I wonder if coaches' careers shouldn't be measured by wins and losses as much by the number of weddings and christenings they're invited to.” Mr. Brooks was demanding and pushed his players incessantly; compliments were almost never given. As Mr. Brooks himself said once, “The greatest compliment I can give you is a sweater,” or, in other words, a place on his team. Much of Mr. Coffey's book consists of a play-by-play recounting of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.” For those who are not well-versed in hockey terms and rules, these recap sections can be somewhat confusing, but the essence of the game comes through. Mr. Coffey inserts asides explaining which plays were good, which were bad, and which were phenomenal, allowing hockey dunces, like myself, to keep up. Interspersed throughout the replay are personal portraits of the individual players and staff involved, usually after the player performed some key play in the game. These vignettes provide insight into the players' pasts, how they came to the game of hockey, and what they did post-1980, as well as a broader view of the history of the game itself. Mr. Coffey also includes brief snippets from interviews with some of the Soviet players, though not as many as I would have liked. The motif of the underestimated underdog triumphing over the better advantaged opponent is always compelling and has been since before David and Goliath. Even though this famous game wasn't actually for the gold medal – the U.S. had to beat Finland in its final game to clinch the title – the”Miracle on Ice” truly was a miraculous event for the United States as well as for the individual players. On paper, the Soviet team seemed to have all the advantages, but somehow a group of college kids, ages ranging from 19 to 25, were able to overturn an entire sports dynasty of older, more experienced players. No wonder Sports Illustrated proclaimed it to be the Top Sports Moment of the 20th Century. For more book reviews, come visit my blog, Build Enough Bookshelves.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aiden Brown

    This is a book called The Boys of Winter. This book is about two rivals who completely hate each other, the United States and the Soviets. They hated each 0ther ever since, but I'm going to tell you my opinion on it and facts. One of the main characters of the book who is very important is Herb Brooks. He is the coach of the United States team and makes the book a lot more interesting. He the reason why the United States team is so successful because he leads them to victory every time. I can re This is a book called The Boys of Winter. This book is about two rivals who completely hate each other, the United States and the Soviets. They hated each 0ther ever since, but I'm going to tell you my opinion on it and facts. One of the main characters of the book who is very important is Herb Brooks. He is the coach of the United States team and makes the book a lot more interesting. He the reason why the United States team is so successful because he leads them to victory every time. I can relate to this character because I am a hockey player myself and I know how it is to coach a hockey team. He is a brave outstanding coach knowing he stood strong in the 1980's against the Soviets. But my opinion on this book is that it isn't a bad book but I prefer to read a book that is more fiction than it is non-fiction. But I still have some good moments in this book and thats when the two teams step right onto the ice. After hearing the two teams were finally go against each other was the best feeling ever. And I believe the author should've put more tone into the book, if the book had more tones this book would be amazing. I do recommend this book but I inly recommend this book to people who have background knowledge on the 1980's Olympics and has played hockey before like me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was not an easy book for me to read. It was written as if you knew hockey and if you were already at least familiar with the players and how the game against Russia went. I did not know any of these things. The author picked a style of writing where he began by going through events and every time a person entered the event, he would detour from the story and give a back story on that person. It was very well written and very interesting, but for someone trying to put the whole thing togethe This was not an easy book for me to read. It was written as if you knew hockey and if you were already at least familiar with the players and how the game against Russia went. I did not know any of these things. The author picked a style of writing where he began by going through events and every time a person entered the event, he would detour from the story and give a back story on that person. It was very well written and very interesting, but for someone trying to put the whole thing together it was incredibly difficult to follow. Personally, I would have preferred a different method of telling the story. A way that wouldn't have constantly been jumping back and forth between times and people. I think I would rather have had a chronological story. And I also would have liked more pictures. Coffey describes so many pictures but only used a few in the book. It would have been nice to have had a picture of each team member. But Coffey did a fantastic job bringing these people to life. In just a couple of pages he would paint such a picture of each person that they came to life. And when the hockey game was uninterrupted, I could picture each hit and each shot. He has a gift with his words. Probably the biggest take-away for me was that I assumed the US vs Russia game was the Gold Medal game. It wasn't. It was the game leading to the medal game. The US played Finland for the Gold. (See how little I really knew about all this?) I found Coach Brooks to be a fascinating man. A complete dick, but a talented one. A man who had his own effective methods for getting the best out of players. And while I think he really was an ass all the time he was coaching, I did find it believable (and sad) that he intentionally set himself up to be 'the bad guy' to bond the team together. I loved reading about the different players. where they came from, what happened to them after the game. I think Coffey did a fantastic job of capturing the highlights of each; enough so as a reader I felt satisfied, and not too much where it bogged the book down. I would recommend this book, but only after you've watched the game (or some kind of remake). I don't think it's great for newbies to the hockey sport or people who don't know about the Lake Placid Olympics. So if you did a bit of homework beforehand I think you'd enjoy the book more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Do you believe in miracles? The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team goes through the phenomenon of the journey the US Men’s Hockey Team to winning the gold medal. A household story to hockey fans is taken in depth through the unheard triumph and struggles of the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team. Wayne Coffey through the course of the novel goes through the teams tales of brotherhood with the stories of individual teammates, their outlandish coach Herb Do you believe in miracles? The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team goes through the phenomenon of the journey the US Men’s Hockey Team to winning the gold medal. A household story to hockey fans is taken in depth through the unheard triumph and struggles of the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team. Wayne Coffey through the course of the novel goes through the teams tales of brotherhood with the stories of individual teammates, their outlandish coach Herb Brooks, and the Goliath of hockey the Soviets. Wayne Coffey is a legendary sportswriter and journalist for The New York Daily News. Over the course of thirty books Coffey has one the “New York Times Bestseller List Award”, on the The Boys Of Winter, and been nominated for three “Pulitzer Awards”. Coffey has also been named one of the nation’s top sports feature writers by the Associated Press three times in the past five years. Coffey still hard at work writing resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York. The way Coffey tackled the format of the book was by structuring it like a hockey game and by naming each chapter after a period of the hockey game. Each period, or chapter he would begin with what happened during that period of play then transition to several substories of different players on the team. As the game rose in tension so would the substories, whether they were stories on specific players or the teams experience with Brooks at the helm. The story then goes on to describe the final buzzer and the triumph of the team defeating the soviets and going on to defeat Finland in the gold medal game. Growing up being a very avid hockey fan, this book was a delight to read. As a kid I always watched the movie Miracle and constantly dreamed of one day sporting that classic red, white, and blue jersey reading USA in big blue letters, and this book brought back that nostalgic feeling I had for that movie and then some. I would most definitely recommend this book to someone who is very patriotic, a huge sports fan, or just someone who just enjoys a good underdog story. Overall The Boys Of Winter is a great read and I can definitely see myself rereading it in the near future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tommy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have to start off by saying the movie that is based of this event, is my favorite movie of all time, and this book doesn't fall short of the movie at all! I absolutely loved this book. It was a perfect reflection of the movie, and truly told a great story, all in just a book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend this book to any of my classmates that enjoy sports, or sports books. I read the book The Boys Of Winter by Wayne Coffey. It is the incredible story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic G I have to start off by saying the movie that is based of this event, is my favorite movie of all time, and this book doesn't fall short of the movie at all! I absolutely loved this book. It was a perfect reflection of the movie, and truly told a great story, all in just a book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend this book to any of my classmates that enjoy sports, or sports books. I read the book The Boys Of Winter by Wayne Coffey. It is the incredible story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Gold metal team. The book goes more indebted than the movie does, by getting prospective or more personal story's from players, like Jim Craig(the goalie) who played a key roll in the win over the Russians in the final game. This book really surprised me of how much the movie is true to it. It amazed me of how hard the hockey players worked to beat the Russian or U.S.S.R. Back then. If you didn't know, back then the Russians were able to use professional players, which are players that get payed and played hockey for a living. But every other team had to use amateur players, which were college, to junior players, and could even be high school players. But at this time the Russians were the raining champs and no one could take them down. They played a "different" style of hockey, I think it's actually more of a modern style to now. They passed the puck fast not having it for more than 3 seconds, they took slap shots, they were faster, and stronger. They were everything and more than every other country. That is why this story is so amazing. The U.S. took down the Russian 4-3, winning the gold metal. It goes on to talk about some of the players, thoughts and experiences after winning the game. Especially Jim Craig's who forwarded the story to the author Wayne Coffey. Craig then went on to talk about, how he still has the U.S. flag he skated around the ice with, and how the first thing he did was look for his dad in the crowd. "Do you Believe in miracles!" This quote is not only my favorite quote, but it sums up the book in only 5 words.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Connolly

    DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? This quote perfectly captures the whole story of the 1980 Mens Olympic Hockey team, the definition of an underdog team. The USA had low goals in their own Olympics, basically just avoid being embarrassed on their home ice situated in the quaint little town of Lake Placid, New York. Under strict and manipulative coach Herb Brooks, the random college boys came together to win the gold medal against unbelievable odds. Even more impressive is the fact that to reach the med DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? This quote perfectly captures the whole story of the 1980 Mens Olympic Hockey team, the definition of an underdog team. The USA had low goals in their own Olympics, basically just avoid being embarrassed on their home ice situated in the quaint little town of Lake Placid, New York. Under strict and manipulative coach Herb Brooks, the random college boys came together to win the gold medal against unbelievable odds. Even more impressive is the fact that to reach the medal, they defeated one of the greatest hockey teams ever assembled, the communist era USSR Hockey team. They were completely dominant in international competition for over a span of 20 plus years, the only major blip in their record being this one game. It is a great inspiring underdog story, and named one of the best sport moments of the American century. This book is fantastic, Wayne Coffey seamlessly weaves in between the narrative of the game and the back stories of many of the players lives. The readers learn about how each player grew up and what inspired and drove them to pursue college hockey and a spot on the 1980 Olympic roster. All in all this is a great read, especially if you are interested in sports, the Olympics or just simply know the back story. Even if you don't know much Coffey does a great job of setting the scene and explaining the events that led to this miracle on ice.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick Shelley

    The Boys of Winter is a story about the 1980 Winter olympics in Lake Placid, New York and the U.S olympic hockey team playing the Soviets. This game wasn’t played for a gold medal but a bigger cause, which was to beat the other way of government a Democracy vs Communism. This game would show which country is stronger and better and will symbolize the power of the country, it was a huge conflict and rivalry because this was the time of the Cold War and both teams were training years and years for The Boys of Winter is a story about the 1980 Winter olympics in Lake Placid, New York and the U.S olympic hockey team playing the Soviets. This game wasn’t played for a gold medal but a bigger cause, which was to beat the other way of government a Democracy vs Communism. This game would show which country is stronger and better and will symbolize the power of the country, it was a huge conflict and rivalry because this was the time of the Cold War and both teams were training years and years for this one game. Vladislav Tretiak the goalie for the soviets trained every single day for this even on his wedding day. It was a tournament that had a total of 12 teams and everybody knew that we would be playing the soviets. Even if you don’t like hockey this book will intrigue anyone that reads it because it isn’t just about the hockey but the political aspect that makes it good. The author Wayne Coffey makes the book become alive because of the way that he describes in in first person from the player's point of view. The book goes into further detail before the 1980 winter olympics and talks about how Herb Brooks picked out the guys to make the team. This tournament didn’t allow any NHL or semi-pro’s to play in it so every team had to pick the hardest working people that there was. I highly recommend this book to anybody that is interested into sports books or just anyone that wants to know what times were like during the cold war with all of the tensions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane Schneider

    I think I was expecting this book to be more about the team and the full Olympic experience than just the Miracle on Ice. The author takes an interesting approach by narrating the game and breaking it up thoughout with vignettes describing the coaching staff, the players, and the preparation for the game. Personally, I found this to be distracting. Because I wasn't given an opportunity to get to know the players before he started describing the game, I had a hard time keeping them straight. I al I think I was expecting this book to be more about the team and the full Olympic experience than just the Miracle on Ice. The author takes an interesting approach by narrating the game and breaking it up thoughout with vignettes describing the coaching staff, the players, and the preparation for the game. Personally, I found this to be distracting. Because I wasn't given an opportunity to get to know the players before he started describing the game, I had a hard time keeping them straight. I also found it hard to appreciate the drama of the game narrative because the author kept interrupting the narrative to talk about the players and coaches. The book captures the excitement of the win and the effect it had on the nation and the sport, but I feel it could have been related in a more organized fashion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    This book recounts the famous hockey match between the USA and the Soviets during the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Usually I am not a fan of books that rehash entire games (especially hockey which I have a very limited knowledge of) but this was so well written and the game so exciting that I had no problem turning the pages. The author also interspersed the personal stories of the team members and Coach Herb Brooks through the narrative including where they were twenty-five years after their hist This book recounts the famous hockey match between the USA and the Soviets during the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Usually I am not a fan of books that rehash entire games (especially hockey which I have a very limited knowledge of) but this was so well written and the game so exciting that I had no problem turning the pages. The author also interspersed the personal stories of the team members and Coach Herb Brooks through the narrative including where they were twenty-five years after their historic victory.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cerrad

    I got about 50 pages in and didn't feel the need to continue. It reminded me of a movie that has a main action scene that gets interrupted with frequent flashbacks to give some color to the characters and plot. For me, I needed this to be a little more straightforward; to understand more about the players and coaches before being asked to visualize a hockey game with a bunch of names I don't recognize.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Mannnnnn I hated the format of this book a lot! But the actual story still saved it. Not sure who the editor was, but pls do better.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nick K

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Growing up as an American hockey fan made me read this book. When I saw this book on the bookshelf, I quickly grabbed it and bought it. Hockey has shaped my life. It is my favorite sport to play, read, and learn about. Hockey has made me into the person that I've become. Watching a lot of hockey movies is another thing that I have done. "Miracle" was a movie that I've probably have watched over 5o times. It is basically a yearly thing for me now. You might wonder why I wanted to read this book? Growing up as an American hockey fan made me read this book. When I saw this book on the bookshelf, I quickly grabbed it and bought it. Hockey has shaped my life. It is my favorite sport to play, read, and learn about. Hockey has made me into the person that I've become. Watching a lot of hockey movies is another thing that I have done. "Miracle" was a movie that I've probably have watched over 5o times. It is basically a yearly thing for me now. You might wonder why I wanted to read this book? As a teenager, I was unable to watch the greatest underdog story ever. I feel like it is my duty and my right to read this book to get a better understanding of what happened on the night of February 22nd, 1980. On that night (February 22nd, 1980), a miracle happened. Something that meant more than just a hockey game. Country versus country. Enemy versus enemy. Young versus old. The United States played the Soviet Union (Russia) in a hockey game that would have an end result that would surprise everybody. The Soviet Union was the best hockey team to ever play in the Olympics. Their combination of strength, finesse, and intelligence would make them one of the best hockey teams that ever played in the world. After the United States won the 1960 goal medal in Squaw Valley, the Soviet Union would end up winning the goal every year until 1980 when the United States won. The game versus the Soviet Union was a semi-final game that people forget as this was the most famous game of the winter. Don't worry though as the United States would win the gold as they would beat Finland 4-2. This book goes in-depth into the stories of a lot of the players before and after the miracle that happened in 1980. There are many stories that either start in a small town in Minnesota when Coach Herb Brooks would bring the player into his college team (University of Minnesota). Others would come from Boston, MA. At that time, most hockey players in the United States came from Minnesota and Boston. To be more specific, it would usually be Boston University vs. The University of Minnesota. Either way, the book's stories of both American and Soviet players would make up a lot of the book, with a lot of game action too. This book had a lot of interesting stories of both players on both teams. Some of the stories of the Soviet Union was very interesting to read about. You would never believe that the best team in the world would also be one of the poorest. One story that intrigued me was how they would never take slap shots because they never had any other stick and they weren't rich enough to pay for all the sticks. The risk of taking a slap shot and braking it forced them to improve there wrist shots, the only type of shot that they took. Also, whenever the Soviets would practice outside in the dark, the engineers would turn off the lights when the team took a couple of minute's break. The Soviets couldn't pay for the electricity so they did there best in saving the energy by turning off the lights. There were so many great stories of the Soviet Union and how they practiced because of the fact that they didn't have enough money. Finally, what went well in the book was how the book summarized the game in a perfect way that would make sure that you wouldn't miss any action. For some people, they might not like to read the entire game, but in my opinion, it was a good way to transition in some of the stories of the players. The problem with this book might have been how it could confuse someone easily. There was a lot of jumping around in the book which confused me at times, but quickly I would understand that it is talking about the game or a story of a player. It might be hard for a non-hockey fan to follow along though. Finally, the only reason that I gave this a 4 instead of a 5 is that some of the stories of the U.S.A. players were a bit boring. Some of the stories were alike which made it feel like the stories were repeated, but they really weren't. It might be rude to say that they were boring, but at the end of the day, it was something that made this book take longer to read than it should have. Besides that though, this book was really well written by Wayne Coffey

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